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Christopher and His Kind 2011
Description: In 1931 budding creator Christopher Isherwood goes to Berlin at the invitation of his mate W. H. Auden for the gay sex that abounds in the city. Whilst working as an English teacher his housemates contain bewigged old queen Gerald Hamilton and would-be actress Jean Ross, who sings tunelessly in a seedy cabaret club. They and others he meets receive place into his stories. After a fling with sexy rent man Caspar he falls for road sweeper Heinz, paying medical bills for the boy's sickly mother, to the disapproval of her another son, Nazi Gerhardt. With Fascism rapidly rising Christopher returns to London with Heinz but is unable to prevent his return to Germany when his visa expires. Years soon Christopher, actually a successful writer, returns to Berlin for a final meeting with Heinz, actually married with children.
Released: 19 Mar 2011 Director: Geoffrey Sax Writers: Christopher Isherwood (based on the book by), Kevin Elyot Actors: Matt Smith, Imogen Poots, Lindsay Duncan, Perry Millward Genres: Biography, Drama, Romance
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Christopher and His Kind Reviews:

Inspired by Christopher Isherwood's 1976 autobiography of the same name Christopher and his Type accomplishes it's best challenge in depicting the happenings and sights that would eventually inspire 1972's Cabaret, without now imitating or reiterating the iconic Oscar-winner. BBC2's first-class feature-length dramatisation of Isherwood's formative years brilliantly presents the characters, proceedings, and atmosphere of 'thirties Berlin in embryonic form. The wonderfully witty screenplay smartly focuses on the Isherwoods' first travels to Berlin in 1931 and 1933, where both the romanticised sexual freedoms and the threat of fascism are seamlessly integrated into this snapshot of the inter-war years. Said retrospectively from an aging Isherwood, the movie starts with the barely-published creator taking the train to Berlin, at the urging of friend, WH Auden. Wisely, Isherwood is never portrayed as just a writer or observer, only briefly seen at the typewriter, and the movie overcomes many of the obstacles in creating dramas based on writers to the extent that the publication of Isherwood's ebook 'Sally Bowles' remains just a passing reference, and receives tiny fanfare. Matt Smith is effortlessly excellent in the role of Isherwood displaying the ease with which Isherwood integrates himself into the sexual underground and 'divine decadence' of the club scene. If it was Smith's hope that this performance would inspire audiences to temporarily forget about his another BBC work then he has surely succeeded. Smith is perfectly accompanied by Toby Jones, as his rough-trade-loving neighbour and an impeccable Lindsey Duncan as his thoroughly British mother. Imogen Poots occupies the most hard role as the proto-Sally Bowles, Jean Ross, all green fingernails and lousy torch-songs, a gift for any actress. Isherwood leaves Germany when it becomes clear that to stay would be fatal and unsuccessfully attempts to bring his German boyfriend back to Britain. The movie closes with a brief post-war reunion between the two former lovers, and the difference between the two is made clear. Heinz, his German lover, is actually married with a kid and Christopher, as we know, is on the verge of being embraced by a burgeoning gay movement and meeting the boy with whom he'll spend the rest of his life.


"Christopher and His Kind" was Christopher Isherwood's method of correcting what he glossed over in "The Berlin Stories" and this movie ver corrects the exceedingly glossy glosses of "Cabaret." The true Jean Ross (nicely played by Imogene Poots) was no Liza Minnelli. Likewise Matt Smith is no Michael York. He's simpler more direct "Herr Issyvoo," and his love affair with Heinz Douglas Booth) is recounted with nice affection. It's difficult for gay folks today to imagine just how loose and louche things were in Berlin just before Hitler came to power. But Isherwood was there and what he recounts speaks volumes about art, politics and the beating heart of same-sex love.


A somewhat engaging movie that recounts the Berlin years of Christopher Isherwood's diary. I'm not a Doctor Who fan, so I was more distracted by the fact that Matt Smith looks nothing like Christopher Isherwood, nor does Imogen Poots look anything like Jean Ross, but they both give adequate performances. The movie mainly plays upon two brief love affairs and the trials and tribulations of Isherwood's boarding house neighbors, with Toby Jones giving a nice performance as an immoral conman with a penchant for S&M-- frankly his hero was the most interesting in the film. In the end, like most biographies, it only touches upon nice matters like Hitler's rise to power, the plight of the gay boys of Berlin and the coming globe war. Ultimately, it was a fragmented movie without a plot.



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